After the drama of the first few days in hospital things did slowly improve. There was still the constant worry I’d have another angioedema episode, or that they would need to cut me open, but there was light at the end of the tunnel and I was starting to think I would really get home soon.
The days were long and the nights disturbed with drip changes and observations for the next week. Every day they would take blood at least once, often it was more times than that, occasionally someone would find an artery first time and this would be such a relief, most times though it would be three or four attempts before my body would let them drain my blood. My stomach pain would ease slightly when the pain relief kicked in and then return when meds were due again, the feeling of nausea though was pretty much constant. There were X-rays too, sometimes late at night as I guess the radiology department was less busy then. This would involve being manhandled onto a stretcher bed and taken downstairs wrapped in blankets to their freezing department, this didn’t help my pain or feelings of nausea.
After about five days the doctors realised my electrolytes were all over the place and some vitamin levels in my blood were dangerously low. It’s not overly surprising as I had been basically starved for nearly a week, the surgical team took a step back at this point and let the medical team try to sort things out. They let me start drinking again, some would say sips of water only, others would tell me to drink what I liked, this was somewhat confusing, but as I was so exhausted I couldn’t manage much anyway. By this point I couldn’t even manage one breath without my mask, so the ventilator stayed on while drinking, this meant timing my swallows perfectly and only taking a sip or two at a time. I was pumped full of all sorts of things and asked to drink others, most of the drinks made me even more nauseous, or were so bad I’d start heaving and bringing them back up. As you can imagine this was a long process.
During this not everything went smoothly, my temperature would go up and down, low 37’s was good, 38’s bad. My blood pressure would go low and the staff would panic. One antibiotic they tried made me instantly come up in hives. Another day my tongue must have caught on a sharp tooth (possibly damaged by everything that had been done to me) and I started spitting out blood, we told several people who were all sure it would stop and weren’t worried. When I started swallowing and choking on the blood in the night and a nurse saw my pillow covered in blood, they decided to worry! The doctor was called and an ice pack was rushed up from A&E to hold on my face and hopefully stop the bleeding. the maxillofacial surgeon was also called but she didn’t get to me until an hour or so later when the bleeding had luckily almost stopped.
During the second week murmurs started about me maybe going home. This was reliant on some good blood test results, so I pushed myself to drink soups, nutritional drinks and milk, it was hard going with the nausea and mask but I got there. I saw a few nurses and other medical staff during this week who had been there the first couple of days, there were comments of how strong I was, faces full of relief and smiles. They weren’t expecting me to still be there, or if I was to be in a bad state. One nurse just stood in the doorway with a huge smile, saying how great I looked over and over.
On the Thursday of the second week one of my doctors came in to take blood, he knew he had to get some or I wouldn’t go home. He apologised repeatedly for hurting me as he attempted to get some blood, at one point he even made the sign of the cross and likely prayed before trying another artery. But like him I knew it needed to be done and it was worth it in the end. The doctor returned later in the day smiling with relief and informed me my results were great and that I might go home by the weekend.
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